Today’s post is the second of a three-part series I’m creating on some of my personal interests. Last week, I wrote about metaphysics; this week, I’m writing about spirituality; and next week, I’ll be writing about music.
Of course, the metaphysical and spiritual are closely aligned. Anyone who believes in God would probably say so, at any rate. But because some of my readers are undoubtedly atheist or agnostic, I figure a post about spirituality can be differentiated from one about metaphysics. After all, one can ponder metaphysical questions without being a “believer.”
I started out life believing what I was taught by my parents and the church. I’d say I had something of a relationship with God, or, if you like, a Higher Power. The terms of that relationship, however, were dictated by what adults told me.
And Then I Grew Up
As I got older, I turned away from religion. My interest in spirits (the drinkable kind) was stronger than my interest in spirituality for a good five to ten years.
But even in the midst of hedonistic pursuits, I was always looking for a spiritual answer. I recall with great clarity how I experimented with psychedelics in my search. When I caught a glimpse of a crowd in the midst of what I considered a revelatory vision, I was disappointed that it was just some people.
Like one of my musical heroes, Syd Barrett, I “reached for the secret” at a young age. And when I felt that the answer was people, I had a hard time accepting that. It didn’t seem like enough; they didn’t seem like enough.
But I Still Hadn’t Really Grown Up
And so it went, until I got into recovery in 1989. At age 24, I discovered that I had the emotional maturity of a two-year-old, and by then, my relationship with any sort of Higher Power had atrophied into nothingness. I was lost.
Luckily, I found that my recovery friends didn’t impose religious beliefs on me. They told me I was free to choose my own conception of a Higher Power. I studied The Bhagavad Gita and Tao Te Ching, listened to Alan Watts lectures, and began a devotion to meditation that—although it wavered at certain points—has persisted to this day.
Some of these concerns feature in the “biographical fiction” aspects of my latest novel, Whizzers. Others have never made it into my novels, and probably never will. I say probably because, hey, never say never.
What about you? Are there interests that inform your work, or influence what you like to read? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.